Tuesday, December 10, 2013

simple days

Folksongs of Vermont are playing, and Jasper is playing with his farm animals and the light is dying and I'm over here opening some writing work up to discerning eyes. We're all participating in acts of great courage.

Simple moments, simple acts. These are the things that make a life.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

a squirrel & two acorns

lately I've gotten really into having a bit of stationery around. some cards, some envelopes. maybe it's our digitalized social landscape. maybe it's the appeal of colour & graphics. it's a big old lady-ish, I admit, but I think it's a step in my general constant life-goal of GETTING IT TOGETHER.

last night in the very early morning I was up with the babe, thinking of the cards I've been sending out most recently. they are flat cards, with "flora & fauna" designs: a bird on a branch, a winding rose, a collection of leaves: oak & fern & beyond, and a squirrel flanked by two acorns. for each occasion, i flip through them, try to determine the mythical & cultural meanings of each. does a squirrel with acorns convey the emotion I want to express?

I have sent cards of thanks, for hostess & housewarming gifts; cards to say hello; two cards, to two different families, to express grief at the loss of their child; a congratulatory card for a bridal shower. this little box of cards and envelopes has carried me through.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

a morning poem

A poem. Not the one I'm working on. Someone else's; one I quite enjoyed. If I'd written this one, it could be called "Tuesdays with Jenn." And it would have to include a little guy doing happy baby pose throughout.

Thursday mornings with Ruth

She's put the heat on in the studio. I arrive, reluctantly, in Lycra. The coffee has barely
made a dent. My body looks more awake than it is. We begin with Om, and soon,
the forward bends and Downward Dogs begin to irritate. My right thigh
feels the burn from Warrior 2, my left toes purpling with concentration. I'm hardly in the swoon
of this practice. The call to meet resistance meets resistance, and "gratitude"
is a far cry from where I'm now kneeling, head tilted toward the back wall, millimeters
from dizziness. My center, it turns out, is off-center. I feel frightened, stiff, and rude,
a towering failure of grace. And so it goes, like last night's snow crusting the trees.
Today, the sun erupts and clears them. Up close, there is a glimpse of what's to come:
A bud, shaken from sleep, struggling against its inevitable bloom.

Maya Stein

Part of the 10-Line Tuesday project. Sign up for your weekly poem here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

imagine a fox

A short PSA on the importance and excellence of this short work of nonfiction about imagination and childhood and nature from Brian Doyle.

All things fox catch my eye these days, ever since the glory of those foxes on the side of the road in the golden mornings up in Mishkeegogamang early last winter, and ever since we named our son after them some nine months later.

We were blessed to have seen these foxes, but it is often enough to have been allowed to imagine a brush with wilderness.

Brian Doyle's novel, Mink River, has been ordered, packed up, mailed and delivered, and is now sitting in my "to-be-read" queue. Thanks to Woodbird, for the tip.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

the best

It seems to me the best things in life remain the same, unchanging with age, time, experience. Or maybe I've just gotten better at noticing how good a moment can feel.

A short list of examples:

-reading a good story
-the quiet, solitary warmth of a bath
-homemade pizza
-tromping through the snow
-pulling a sled
-laying around in bed while the morning sun slants in
-drinking tea with company
-drinking tea alone
-playing music on the living room floor
-the smell of baby's head
-the sun, warm on your back; a reminder that winter will end
-the thrill of a thrift shop find
-unexpected guests
-unexpected roadtrips
-a delicious soup at a faraway Mexican restaurant
-the earthy smell of the farmer's market
-eating warm perogies from a paper bag

Friday, January 11, 2013

without ever once explaining anything

Then again, this Kim Addonizio poem could convince even one with the strongest resolve to give it all up. I found this wonderful January poem via enhabiten, and I've been savouring its flavours all week.

New Year’s Day

The rain this morning falls
on the last of the snow

and will wash it away. I can smell
the grass again, and the torn leaves

being eased down into the mud.
The few loves I’ve been allowed

to keep are still sleeping
on the West Coast. Here in Virginia

I walk across the fields with only
a few young cows for company.

Big-boned and shy,
they are like girls I remember

from junior high, who never
spoke, who kept their heads

lowered and their arms crossed against
their new breasts. Those girls

are nearly forty now. Like me,
they must sometimes stand

at a window late at night, looking out
on a silent backyard, at one

rusting lawn chair and the sheer walls
of other people’s houses.

They must lie down some afternoons
and cry hard for whoever used

to make them happiest,
and wonder how their lives

have carried them
this far without ever once

explaining anything. I don’t know
why I’m walking out here

with my coat darkening
and my boots sinking in, coming up

with a mild sucking sound
I like to hear. I don’t care

where those girls are now.
Whatever they’ve made of it

they can have. Today I want
to resolve nothing.

I only want to walk
a little longer in the cold

blessing of the rain,
and lift my face to it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


So, let's consider December "captured," and move on shall we? The whole thing went swimmingly until our house guests arrived. I had every intention of blogging my way beyond the Mayan apocalypse and into 2013, but intentions met real life and real life won.

I'm hoping to do better.

I've never been much for resolutions, and for a while there I had some kind of a well-thought out or at least heavily-emoted argument against New Year's resolutions, but I guess even my resolve not to resolve wore thin.

This year, I have one very small, very achievable goal (okay, one that I'm willing to name publicly and actively pursue — I'd obviously love to be healthy, organized & punctual):

 in 2013, I'm going to read more fiction.

So far, the pile on my nightstand reads thusly:

Ann Packer's The Dive from Clausen's Pier (started last night and so far: too much description of what people are wearing),

Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go (thrifted and paid for by the pound),

Wendell Berry's That Distant Land (I was so spoiled at Christmas. Also, I just read my first Port William novel this fall, and I am IN) and

Alice Munro's latest, Dear Love (another very much loved Christmas gift. Also, is it possible to read Alice Munro in the summer? I'd never even try).